Anyone interested in Old Russian literature owes a debt to John Bruno Hare, proprietor of the Internet Sacred Text Archive, who has put online the 1915 Leonard A. Magnus translation of the Слово о полку Игореве [Slovo o polku Igoreve], which can be and has been translated in various ways: the Lay of the Host of Igor, the Tale of Igor’s Army, or (as Nabokov has it) the Song of Igor’s Campaign. Don’t ask me why Magnus chose the word armament; yes, it once meant (in the OED’s words) “a force military or (more usually) naval, equipped for war,” but it hasn’t meant that for quite some time now, and it’s not “appropriate to the period” because it didn’t exist before the 17th century, so it seems pointlessly perverse. But never mind that, and never mind that Nabokov called this version “a bizarre blend of incredible blunders, fantastic emendations, erratic erudition and shrewd guesses.” Nabokov was hard on everyone, and besides, the Nabokov translation is both under copyright and out of print (hard as that is to believe), whereas the Magnus is free for the taking and now available to anyone with an internet connection. And it’s not just a translation: the bulk of the book consists of introductory material about the history of the MS, the history of Russia, the construction of the poem, the language and grammar, and so on (not to mention ten genealogical tables, which Nabokov admitted were extremely handy), and the text itself is presented in parallel columns with the original on the left, and not in modernized spelling either:
Не лѣпо ли ны бяшетъ, братие,
начяти старыми словесы
трудныхъ повѣстий о пълку
Игоревѣ, Игоря Сватъславлича?
Of course there are better texts available, but having the parallel translation there is extremely convenient. (Thanks for the link go to Plep.)